2018 in Review.

my favorite embroidered dresses 1

This little year in review post has become a favorite of mine. I’ve done it the past two years and always find it to be really helpful both personally and professionally. It’s good to reflect, take a step back, look at the numbers, and see what worked and didn’t work this year! It’s also important to celebrate successes. As with last year I looked at the overall numbers, how you found me, my top performing posts, and the products you bought the most of. Let’s dive in! I hope this is as interesting for you to read as it was for me to put together! (And for a less analytical, more subjective post, check out yesterday’s post: my ten favorite products from 2018!)

2018 by the numbers!

  • 397 posts published (-2% vs. last year)
  • 9,558 comments (+6% vs. last year)
  • Blog traffic was up 36%!

I’ve been a little in the weeds (the holidays!) and honestly was pretty shocked to see that the blog grew as much as it did. I pulled the numbers in Google Analytics multiple times as I was so surprised. I knew it grew but my target was 20% so this was pretty major. I’m not someone who necessarily celebrates success. I’m usually just like “okay cool good, how do we keep this going!? NEXT!!!” It feels braggy and is also scary because there’s always that little voice in the back of my head telling me I won’t be able to keep the momentum going. But everyone is saying that nobody is reading blogs AND the blog turns 9 this year so I am pretty damn proud of that number!

It also made me happy to see that blog comments are still growing. It’s not in line with the traffic increase, but I’ll take it. I realize that it’s a lot easier for you to DM me or leave a comment on Instagram so I really cherish a blog comment – it’s much more special! I make it a point to respond to each and every one and to encourage a conversation in the comments section! Nothing makes me happier when I see readers making friends/having their own discussions in the comments section. When I updated the site this month, we added the “trending” icon so that you guys can more easily see which posts are sparking the most discussion, as well as a way to highlight the post getting the most.

How you found me:

  1. Search
  2. Instagram
  3. Pinterest
  4. Bloglovin
  5. Mackenzie Horan (thank you, friend!)
  6. Buzzfeed
  7. Go Fug Yourself (thanks Heather & Jessica!)
  8. Facebook
  9. Feedly
  10. A Girl and a Glue Gun

Most Popular Posts of 2018

Most Popular Posts of 2018:

#10 Five Summer Fragrances. This one surprised me a bit. I don’t talk about fragrance very much here as it’s so personal and hard to describe a scent through the blog… you have to experience it in person! Do you want me to talk about fragrance more here?

#9 The Correct Order to Apply Skincare. This was one of my most requested posts! The main reason that I wrote it was so that I could stop typing it out in emails and DMs. 😉 With so many products, it gets confusing (when to apply serum? What about toner?) This was a popular one and I’m actually a bit surprised that it didn’t rank even higher.

#8 10 Tips to Boost Your Immune System. This is one of my favorite guest posts ever because it’s solid advice from a doctor (as opposed to you know, me, just telling you what I do!!) I re-read it again this week as I’ve been worried that I’m getting a cold.

#7 How I Packed for Asia. A fun one to write (and I definitely learned a lot about what to pack/what not to pack while on this trip!).

#6 The Most Uplifting Podcasts. You guys really loved this one and it was a fun post to research as I came away from it with a lot of new favorites!!!

#5 My Favorite Embroidered  Dresses. I was surprised how well this one did as outfit posts tend to get a lot of comments but not a lot of traffic. The photos Trent took turned out really well. I blame Pinterest!

#4 The Best Irreverent Gifts. Always a favorite and just affirms that YOU ARE MY PEOPLE!

#3 DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. This is one of my favorite easy beauty DIYs and seriously so effective. Since making a point to do this at least once a week my hair is so much shinier and my dry scalp is GONE.

#2 Dr. Bader The Cream Review. Yessss my most favorite face cream ever. This one also did very well through SEO… I was one of the first people to write about it and because of that it ranked really well with google. But google or no google, it’s still my personal number one.

#1 What’s in my Carry On Bag. I can’t believe this was my most popular post of the year and have resolved to do more packing/travel content. We went really in depth here so I was happy to see you guys liked it so much!

Top Products of 2018 in no particular order

Top Products of 2018 in no particular order:

  1. Acwell Toner. I never was a toner person until this year (specifically when I visited Christine Chin) and it’s made a big difference in my skin. I sell at least one of these a day!
  2. Dr. Bader Face Cream So happy to see this make the list as I could literally talk about how amazing it is every day.
  3. Natori Feathers Bra My favorite bra – I always sell a bajillion of them during the Nordstrom sale!
  4. Lele Sadoughi Headband Honestly was a little bit shocked to see this one do so well given the price point but it also made me happy. I love mine and it’s such a good way to elevate any outfit.
  5. Chelsea 28 Wrap Dress Simple and chic and always in style.
  6. Anthropologie Lucite Handle Purse – such a good bag – looks designer for only $68!
  7. BaubleBar phone case This was a no brainer – whenever I take it out I get non-stop questions!
  8. Tuckernuck Top – this was my go-to party top this year… I wear it so much.
  9. Hanes x Karla Tee. The best simple white t-shirt ever.
  10. Topshop Coat. I think this one did so well as it’s been in stock at Nordstrom since summer (I bought the camel one during the anniversary sale and wear it non-stop.
  11. Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter – my holy grail. Like an instagram filter for your face!
  12. Free People Sweater Tunic. Another no-brainer. I basically live in this sweater!
  13. Eileen Fisher Alpaca Coat – I have this coat in camel and it’s my favorite. So soft. One of my favorite purchases from this year.
  14. Glossier Lash Slick. My most favorite mascara. Read my review of it here.
  15. Good American Jeans. The best jeans. So flattering, the greatest.
  16. Barefoot Dreams Cardigan. Another Nordstrom sale one. I bought mine two years ago and it’s my favorite for cozy nights at home.

What you can expect to see in 2019….

This year was big in terms of changes. I think the site grew as much as I did because I listened to you. I really focused on having more useful content, more personal posts, more beauty and wellness. The Facebook group grew quite a bit and turned into it’s own special self-sustaining community. I launched the podcast with Becca.

More Video.

This was a goal last year but then I kinda just stopped doing it because it was hard/time consuming/etc. I know that a lot of you prefer to just read but I view video as an incremental thing that will either a) be a fun little treat for those of you who like video, or b) be an acquisition tool: a way to get new people from Youtube over to the blog or the podcast. My goal is to publish at least one video per week through June and see how it goes. No big expectations, just one video a week and then we will reassess after that.

Changes to the podcast.

It’s so interesting. Becca and I were killing ourselves to read, outline, and come up with discussion for two books a month and then realized so few people (in the scheme of things!!!) were reading the books. The advice episodes were SO much more popular and those were the easiest/most fun for us to do. So we are moving to one book a month and adding in more episodes where we just shoot the sh*t, or chat with our cooler-than-us guests. We have a killer lineup of guests in store, so far we have lined up Katie Sturino, Danielle Prescod, Jared Freid, and Ashley Spivey. I am really, really excited about this.

Instagram Stories. 

I am feeling better about Instagram and it’s because a) I’ve stopped worrying about if my audience is growing there (I would love for it to grow but my sanity is more important and I refuse to cheat!) and b) I really love posting to stories. It’s nice to have an easy way to share my day to day with you! In every business piece I read about Instagram they say that stories are becoming more important than “the feed,” and I am a-okay with that. (The blog is still #1 though, followed by the podcast and Youtube!)

That’s about it! But what I really want to know is, what do you want to see!? I’d love to hear it in the comments. I listen… it is so helpful to me to hear what content resonates most with you and why you come here! We touched a lot of this in this post but keep the feedback coming. If this is my “annual report,” you guys are all my customers and I want every visit to The Stripe to be a good one!

PS – 2017 in review and 2016 in review!

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Your blog has grown so much in the past year! Congratulations, Grace, you truly deserve it! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Janice Hall says 1.8.19

    Congratulations on a great year! Your blog is one of my favorites and I am old enough to be your Mother. Keep up the great work.

  3. Elle says 1.8.19

    Congrats Grace! That is definitely something to be celebrated. I love reading your blog and will continue reading it for years to come. I love your skincare posts and you’ve inspired me to be better about my skincare regime so no surprise there that they are your top posts! Also love your personal advice posts as well. Keep up the great work! xo elle

    • thank you so much elle and i’m so happy to hear the blog/me has helped inspire you to take better care of your skin!! xoxox

  4. Rachel says 1.8.19

    I love the podcast and am excited about the changes you guys are making! I also loved the more personal content this year. Congratulations, Grace!

  5. Casey says 1.8.19

    Congrats on a great year, Grace!!

  6. Kendall says 1.8.19

    Love learning a bit about behind the scenes of the blog and fascinating to see what ranks highest! I can say I definitely contributed to increased traffic as your varied topics kept me coming back daily this year!

    xx
    Kendall

    Ps – I think you meant to say what to expect in 2019 near the bottom of the post…..I wrote the wrong date 3 times yesterday 😉

  7. Abby says 1.8.19

    Love that your blog has grown so much! You are one of the only blogs I still read everyday. I love your interior, entertaining and travel posts so keep them coming in 2019 🙂

  8. Brianna Rooney says 1.8.19

    I love these recaps! So fun to see and CONGRATS!! You should be very proud of yourself.

    Your skincare posts were my absolute favorite this year and I can’t wait for your beauty counter review (holding out on buying some things until I hear your feedback!)

    I also really loved your interview with Hunt Slonem and a look into the type of art you collect/ love. It was SO interesting and now when I am watching shows, I can recognize his pieces.

    Also, any time you host, I LOVE that as well – any tips/ tricks is always helpful.

  9. Steph says 1.8.19

    This was such an interesting read- love seeing what goes on behind the scenes. So glad 2018 exceeded your goals for growth for your blog!

    Excited to check out some of the blog posts that I missed. I love your recommendations and have definitely made some changes to my routine as a result. Really like what content you share, can’t think of anything I’d add 🙂

    xx Steph

  10. Jordan Peterson says 1.8.19

    I love the podcast so maybe some more cross-over with the podcast, maybe Becca could so a guest post about transitioning to working at home or working for herself and you could compare your experience?

  11. Rachel says 1.8.19

    Grace – congrats on successful 2018. You should definitely take a minute to celebrate those successes 🙂

    Can you share the link to the dress in your first picture? This dreary NY weather has me dreaming of some upcoming beach vacations that your dress would be perfect for!

  12. Michelle says 1.8.19

    Congrats! I have been reading for YEARS and this is still one of my favorites. I love that you still do consistent outfit posts, when many bloggers aren’t. I also looove the podcast (hi Becca!) and skincare posts. It sounds like we have very similar skin types and I value and trust your feedback. Keep doing you! Xx

  13. dana mannarino says 1.8.19

    Congrats on a successful year, Grace! You deserve to be so proud of yourself. Your content gets better and better every year. Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings you! x

    The Champagne Edit

  14. Gabi says 1.8.19

    Your blog is one of the few I read every day! Your consistency keeps us all coming back and I trust your opinion on products! Congrats and all the best in 2019!

  15. Shana says 1.8.19

    Great post! I was brought over from Krista at Covering the Bases, and I’ve been reading Blair’s blog for years as well so it was fun for me as a reader when I saw photos of you two together 🙂 As a blog only reader, I don’t have Instagram because my work doesn’t allow social media sites like twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and that’s who pays for my mobile device, I would love to read about the yoga retreats. How did you select one? What is it like going when you know no one? I’ve always wanted to go on one! I love practicing yoga but I feel like it’s a step to really put myself out there to go on a retreat – maybe that’s silly! I’m a big fan of the anti-aging regimes as well. I feel like masks are tricky and finding the right time to apply one is difficult. Before bed, before a shower, after a shower, in the morning, etc. Good luck in 2019 and I’m excited to keep following along!

    • love krista and blair!!!

      and thank you so much for the feedback – much appreciated!!

  16. Olga says 1.8.19

    Your blog is THE BEST and it’s obvious how much love and work you put into it. Excited to see what you do in 2019! I would love to see more affordable fashion!

    Olga
    http://www.littlethingsolga.com

  17. Sasha says 1.8.19

    I totally agree about Instagram stories. In general, I like watching bloggers or “influencers” I follow on stories to see what they’re up to- it’s like a little mini reality show (my fave haha) and it also gives me a much better sense of their personality than just looking at an Insta outfit post- definitely don’t mind seeing the outfit pics, but I enjoy stories so much more!

    By the way- I am the person who stopped you at RH (the one who read your blog, my much less shy friend made us talk to you) and I have been meaning to write you a longer comment or message (NOT DM!) because there were several other funny aspects to the story that I didn’t think of until right after we left you- but thank you for being so friendly and willing to chat and not thinking we were totally weird!

    • oh my gosh SASHA! Thank you for commenting!!! And for stopping me that day. It’s NEVER annoying and hugely flattering. I had been having one of those days and the two of you saying HI totally made my entire day!!!! It was fun chatting with you guys and also how amazing is that restaurant? Dying to go back already. xx

  18. Nicole says 1.8.19

    Grace- you KILLED it in 2018. I have been a blog reader of yours for at least 4 years, but this year I found myself checking your site way more frequently because I had to see if there was new content. Started the year with your wellness challenge (got the flu in January so unfortunately didn’t last very long/ took a while to get back into it, but still loved following along nonetheless!), have always loved your fashion, skincare & books content and I really enjoy the podcast. I was abroad this fall so didn’t keep up with the books but I really enjoy the advice episodes (I feel like you, Becca and I are just hanging out and chatting as friends with every episode) and find myself recommending products/ things you discuss to my friends (in addition to obvi recommending them the pod itself!). Cannot WAIT to see what 2019 has in store for the blog, the podcast and you! Cheers to a wonderful New Year!! Xo, Nicole

    • Oh my gosh thank you Nicole – that means so much to me, especially as someone who has been reading for a while! Happy happy New Year! xo

  19. Taylor Juricic says 1.8.19

    Congrats! I love reading your blog every morning! I would love for more outfit of the day posts on your insta stories!

  20. Jessie says 1.8.19

    I’ve read your blog daily for the past ~6.5 years, and I love seeing it grow! You have grown alongside your blog and every year your posts are better than ever. Look forward to 2019 🙂

    • Thank you for sticking with me for so long, Jessie! Much appreciated!!! Thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate it!

  21. Lindsey says 1.8.19

    Congrats, Grace! This is the only blog I read on the daily. Love it and all your recs. It’s so easy to relate to you!
    -Lindsey

  22. Jennifer says 1.8.19

    Congrats! I started reading your blog for the first time in January 2018 and it is now my daily pleasure! I can’t miss a post 🙂 Love all the beauty, travel and book recs! Excited for 2019 🙂

    • Thank you so much Jennifer!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your enthusiasm and kind words!

  23. Kaitlyn says 1.8.19

    Love it! Excited for what’s to come on the podcast. <3

  24. Katie says 1.8.19

    Thank you so much for the QUALITY content. Seriously, I read your blog every day and never feel like your posts are selling out for the ads or that you are posting anything that isn’t authentically you. I really love that. I’m surprised to see that your travel posts didn’t rank higher! I loved those this year. They inspired me to plana trip to Cartagena for the spring. Please keep the travel posts (trip posts, packing posts, anything and everything!) coming–even if it’s just stuff to do and see in NYC, as I know you plan to stay put in the city more this year. I’ve also gotten much more skin care conscious this year and have found many wonderful products through your blog. So, as this is getting very long, thank you thank you for the great content! Hope your 2019 is happy and healthy 🙂

    • Oh my gosh thank you!!!

      I think that the travel posts are really helpful – but appeal to a more niche audience (i.e. someone planning a trip). I will always do them as I think it’s something I’m good at (finding the good stuff to do, eating the best food, and rounding it all up for you!) but I definitely see that a lot of folks tend to skim them unless they’re planning a trip! But don’t worry, they won’t go away!

      I loooove the idea of doing more New York related content. I guess I worry that it won’t appeal to everyone but oftentimes people are planning a trip so it’s helpful!

  25. Ruth says 1.8.19

    Thanks for perking up my Friday afternoons at work for the last couple years – I always look forward to The Weekly Stripe email. And I’ve met such lovely people through the Chicago extension of the Facebook group – so double thanks and I hope 2019 is a great year for you and for The Stripe!

    • Aw both of these things make me so so happy!!! Thanks Ruth – appreciate the comment!

  26. Nicole says 1.8.19

    Congratulations on your amazing traffic numbers!! I love all your content (the mix of beauty/fashion/personal posts is just right for me) and that’s what keeps me coming back, but I also have to thank you for introducing me to so many other funny, interesting people through The Stripe this year. The Girls Gotta Eat podcast has become a favorite, and Heather McMahan’s Instagram stories crack me up. Truly appreciate it and look forward to listening to you and Becca + your guests on the podcast!

    • thank you so so much Nicole!!! I’m really happy you’re enjoying those things – some of my absolute favorites!

  27. Kalli says 1.8.19

    Yay Grace!!! I love reading your site for skincare recommendations and enjoy the personal posts, too. Looking forward to another year of reading (and following and podcast listening)!!

  28. Laura says 1.8.19

    I found you from Go Fug Yourself, a book post I think, but now I check several times a week as I love your blog and the variety of posts. Keep doing what you do!

    One possible request, maybe a guest post if you had a source, would be about skincare for specific skin issues. I was diagnosed with rosecea earlier this year, but am also getting older and would love reliable info on products that would not irritate this condition.
    Thanks!

  29. DANIELLE AUGUST says 1.8.19

    Hi Grace! I love your blog and still read it through Bloglovin everyday! I really enjoy the variety of content you put out! Just seeing an outfit post from
    Other bloggers makes me skip by. You definitely met your goal of creating useful content! Keep it up! We are all still here despite “people not reading blogs anymore!”

  30. Zara says 1.8.19

    Hi Grace! 4-year reader but never really commented in here. You did so, SO well in 2018!!
    Loved your posts especially all the heart felt ones..I read your blog every single day and I especially love the Weekend Reads! I just wish there are more “quality” links in the Weekend Reads compared to links to buy clothes/accessories/shoes etc…I’m a minimalist and those things aren’t important to me haha.

    Keep up the good work, Grace!

    • thank you so much for commenting, zara!!!! and i hear you! the shopping finds are always a favorite with other readers but i really strive to find a good balance from across the web! xo

  31. Denise says 1.8.19

    Love this summary, what a great year!

  32. Morgan says 1.8.19

    Congrats on a great year and exceeding your growth goal!

    I love your Instagram stories! That’s also what drives me back to the blog – I end up reading posts that I may have skipped.

    • aw thank you so much morgan! and great to know that’s how you get to the blog!!!

  33. Jennifer Rea says 1.8.19

    Love your blog! Long time reader, first time commenting! I love your book posts and your weekend reading posts. When I heard you mention them on the no filter podcast and how popular they are, I wasn’t surprised. It’s my favorite thing to check on Sunday morning when I just want to read fun things in bed and open a millions tabs. Would love to see you post about your yoga retreats when you go. That’s been on my bucket list forever.

  34. Lisa says 1.9.19

    What a year!! Love the variety of posts (as always), would love more cultural posts, like the art ones you did. Those were SO interesting to read! Also maybe more recipes, always fun seeing what a regular person eats throughout the day!

    Happy 2019, Grace!

    Lisa
    http://www.theeverydayelevated.com

  35. Lindsey says 1.9.19

    Congrats Grace! You are one of the hardest working bloggers out there and truly deserve all your success. I continue to be so impressed with your hustle and all the new things you experiment with. We are the same age and have similar lives, so I really love all of your more personal posts. I’ve been reading your blog for 5-6 years now and feel like I know you 🙂 I’ve also really loved seeing your apartment come together and enjoy your home decor posts. And last but not least, I still love a good outfit post! If I might offer one piece of constructive criticism… I find links that go to the wrong place pretty often, especially in your weekend reading posts (which are another favorite). I am always a little bummed to click through to an interesting new product or piece of content only to find that it goes to a different page than I was expecting. Case in point – the Lele Sadoughi headband above! Other than that, keep all the great work and happy 2019! xo

    • That’s such a good point… I’m sorry! I really try but sometimes forget to double check my links. Will make that a goal for this year. In the meantime here’s a link to the headband! https://shopstyle.it/l/XXVc

      • Lindsey says 1.9.19

        No worries at all! Such a minor thing in the scheme of things . Thank you for the link!

  36. Annie says 1.9.19

    Congrats on a great year! So happy to see your success. I became a loyal reader in 2018 and grew from just looking for your reading lists to checking your blog every day for updates and listening to the podcast. Looking forward to more must-read books, beauty tricks, and outfits out of my comfort zone in 2019!

  37. Julia says 1.9.19

    You’re such an inspo, Grace! I loved reading this and am so proud of all that you’ve accomplished. I can’t think of anyone more deserving! xx

    • That is so kind of you to say Julia! Thank you so much and cheers to a bright 2019! xo

  38. Joanna B says 1.9.19

    What a year! What I love most about you as a blogger is that I can ALWAYS trust that your opinions are genuine and not bought. This goes for beauty products, clothing, books, etc. So regardless of what you post about, I know that I’m getting something real and relatable.

    PS: One of my favorite yearly posts is the gift guide for the cat lover.

    • Thank you so so much for that, Joanna!!! I always say that reader trust is the single most important thing to me – I know that if I recommend something I can’t stand behind, you won’t come back!!! (And so glad you love the cat lady gift guide!) xo

  39. Julie D says 1.9.19

    Hi Grace! After swooning over them in your reviews for ages, I’ve finally ordered some Glossier products including the lash slick, the body hero bodywash and a few other things. I live in Canada but I’m visiting my aunt in Florida in a couple of weeks so I had them shipped there. I can’t wait to see and try and smell everything! Love your blog and the Bad on Paper podcast! I’m trying to save this week’s episode for the wait at the airport but I might have to listen to it before then because I love it so much! Yay for more advice and shit-shooting, ha ha. PS: I hope you’ll read The Looker: A Novel by Laura Sims. I just reviewed it today (spoiler: I LOVED it) and I’m so curious to hear what you think!

    • Julie D says 1.9.19

      Correction: Looker: A Novel (not The Looker)

    • grace at the stripe says 1.10.19

      Oh I am so so glad to hear it! Let me know how you like them!!

      Thank you so much for the book suggestion 🙂 xx

  40. JENNY SMITH says 1.10.19

    Hey Grace,

    I have been reading your blog for a few years now and love it. I just started my career and my thirties, and your content is fantastic from the reading lists to your life lessons. Your blog has helped me be more patient about this transition in my life and to focus on what makes me grow and be happy and not so much on where I am “supposed” to be at this time.

  41. Ashley says 1.17.19

    Congrats! Will definitely have to check out the podcast. It is very interesting to learn how people are finding your blog!

  42. Vanessa says 1.18.19

    Wow, congratulations on making your blog grow by 36% last year! That’s a huge number!

    I enjoy reading your more personal posts the most. Those, and your travel-related posts always get me really excited to hunker down and read your blog. I’m not too keen on podcasts and Instastories, but I do enjoy watching YouTube videos, so I’m thrilled you’re going to give that platform another go this year!

  43. Theodora says 1.19.19

    Came back to read this one—congrats on the well-deserved growth!!! It’s obvious how much work you put into your site, so super well deserved. I love posts like these because they always give me ideas, too. It’s also so encouraging to see that blogs can still grow in this Instagram era!